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Bose QuietComfort 45 design, specs, features and rumors

Bose QuietComfort 45 FCC filing
(Image credit: Bose/FCC)

Thanks to an FCC filing, we now know the Bose QuietComfort 45 is likely in the works. Regulator documents can be intentionally vague, but this one both names the headphones and shows photos of the QuietComfort 45’s apparent design.

As such, it’s looking all but certain that the Bose QuietComfort 35 II — a pair of the best noise-cancelling headphones out there — is getting a direct follow-up. This could mean the tantalizing prospect of a set of cans that has the top-tier active noise cancellation (ANC) of the Bose 700, together with the more affordable pricing of the QuietComfort 35 II.

We won’t know for sure until there’s an official announcement, but in the meantime here’s all the Bose QuietComfort 45 release date, design and specs information we’ve been able to dig up.

Bose QuietComfort 45 release date rumors

Bose QuietComfort 35

(Image credit: Future)

Bose has done a good job of keeping the QuietComfort 45 under wraps. Nonetheless, the FCC filing might give us a hint of when the QuietComfort 45 could be announced, if not launched outright. The documents explain that Bose and the FCC have a short-term confidentiality agreement that covers even more revealing aspects of the QuietComfort 45, like technical diagrams and the instruction booklet. This agreement is set to expire on January 12 2022.

Therefore, Bose could be planning to reveal the QuietComfort 45 on or before January 11. We’ve seen a similar process just recently, as the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds launched only a few days before Sony’s own FCC short-term confidentiality agreement ended.

Bose QuietComfort 45 design

Bose QuietComfort 45 rear

(Image credit: Bose/FCC)

The most revealing aspect of the FCC filing, besides the product name, was a pair of images showing the QuietComfort 45’s apparent design. These reveal a very similar over-ear build to that of the QuietComfort 35 II, with a few small changes.

For starters, the right earcup now features a USB-C charging port, a direct upgrade on the QuietComfort 35 II’s micro-USB port. It also looks like the QuietComfort 45 could get a few more onboard microphones, judging by the additional grilles positioned around both earcups. These mics could be for voice calls, ANC or both.

The QuietComfort 45 also appears to keep the physical buttons used by the QuietComfort 35 II; the Bose 700 pivoted away towards an arguably more intuitive touch sensor system. Again, this reinforces the new model being a true successor to the QuietComfort series, even if the 700 supplanted it as Bose’s flagship ANC brand.

Hopefully, this means the QuietComfort 45 will be just as easy to wear as the light, relatively breathable QuietComfort 35 II.

Bose QuietComfort 45 specs

Bose 700 vs Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Unsurprisingly, given it follows one of the best wireless headphones, the QuietComfort 45 will connect over Bluetooth — though judging by the FCC photos, there’s either a 3.5mm or 2.5mm jack on the left earcup for optional wired use. The regulator’s documentation describes a 1.5m audio cable being included, so that might be what you’ll eventually get in the retail box.

We’re still in dark on factors like battery life, but given the QuietComfort 45 appears to so closely resemble its predecessor, we can take an informed guess at its dimensions and weight. The QuietComfort 35 II measured 7.1 x 6.7 x 3.2 inches and weighed 8.2 ounces, nearly a full ounce less than the Bose 700. Unless Bose is making some seriously drastic changes under the hood, expect similar specs on the QuietComfort 45.

Bose QuietComfort 45 features

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Bose)

Active noise cancellation is almost a dead certainty for the QuietComfort 35 II; it was a defining feature of the QuietComfort 35 II, and the Bose 700 fully cemented Bose’s status as master of ANC tech. You can expect it to be accompanied by an ambient/transparency mode, too.

The only other truly safe bet is digital assistant support. That’s because, on the FCC photos, we can see the same Action button on the left earcup that the QuietComfort 35 II had. Although this could be reprogrammed to toggle through ANC modes, by default it was activated your phone’s respective assistant: Google Assistant or Siri. It’s highly likely that the QuietComfort 45 will repeat that functionality.

Bose QuietComfort 45: What we’d like to see

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Bose)

For now, the majority of the QuietComfort 35’s features and facets remain a mystery. That includes its price; it will be interesting to see if Bose tries to undercut rivals like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and AirPods Max, or goes for another premium play to fully replace the Bose 700.

In any case, here are a few things we want to see from the Bose QuietComfort 45 when it’s announced for real.

Even better sound: There’s not much to complain about when it comes to the QuietComfort 35 II’s sound. In fact, in our Bose 700 vs Bose QC35 II comparison, we actually preferred the older, cheaper model. That puts the QuietComfort 45 in good stead already, though we’d be happy to hear that Bose has refined its drivers even further.

Long battery life: The previous two pairs of flagship Bose headphones were rated at 20 hours of ANC-enabled playback. That’s not bad, but also not too impressive when the WH-1000XM4 and even the cheap Cleer Enduro ANC can last for much, much longer. The QuietComfort 45 therefore represents a chance for Bose to catch up on sheer longevity.

Improved fast charging: Staying with the battery, the QuietComfort 35’s apparent switch from micro-USB to USB-C opens up the door for vastly improved charging performance. The QuietComfort 35 II can produce 2.5 hours of playback from a 15-minute charge; there’s little reason the new model can’t target 3.5 hours, 4 hours or more.

Adjustable EQ: The Bose 700 got its own app, Bose Music, that replaced the older Headphones Connect app. This upgraded software added the ability to fine-tune the 700’s bass, mids and treble, and while the QuietComfort 45 will hopefully sound great out of the box, it wouldn’t hurt for the new headphones to get this personalization feature as well.

Wind resistance: Bose’s ANC is comfortably the best in its class, though the company’s headphones have sometimes struggled with poor wind resistance around the microphones. This has meant that, including on the QuietComfort 35 II, you’d have to turn down the ANC effectiveness to prevent annoying whoosing sounds. If the QuietComfort 45 is to address a weakness, and not just build on pre-existing high quality, it should be this.

James Archer

As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. His favorite musical genre is rock, despite once claiming the guitar is “too complicated” for humans to play. He plays bass instead.